Real Talk: Some Awkward Things About Blogging

January 23, 2014

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This is going to be awkward for two reasons:

1) The first rule of blogging is not to talk about blogging.

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2) I do not possess the language to discuss things like HTML or affiliates in an articulate or graceful manner.

Here’s my best try:

Blogging is hard. It’s hard to come up with intelligent content, maintain dialogue, keep up with technical details, and fork over the money for something you are often not paid to do–all while taking care of a family. Blogging is hard.

Blogging is easy. You can work from home, not work at all, stop at any time, engage in a community of great people, and it usually means you’re doing something you want to do. Blogging is easy.

For the past three years I have tried my hardest to maintain that I am a writer, not a blogger. I do not do giveaways, sponsored posts, or decorate my site with a lot of ads. I also do not tweet or facebook or instagram promotional products. My blogging mantra has always been to keep the focus on what I love: writing.

Here is the problem: blogging can be expensive. It doesn’t have to be, but when you pay for your own domain and your own hosting, it comes out to a few hundred dollars a year. Add in technical work because your site is crashing every five minutes and the bills start to pile up.

Here is the truth: I am not in this for the money. That would be pretty stupid. I am in this to write. But a girl’s also gotta get paid.

Over the past few months, I’ve lost years of my life trying to fix some issues that have caused this site to be slow and troublesome. It has been unpleasant. There were times I cursed the day I started this blog and cursed myself for being so web illiterate. I yelled at my kid, was impatient with Austin, and lost valuable time because I was too busy on the phone with tech support.

During this time of yelling, I came to two very important conclusions: 1) I need to stop stress-eating dairy and 2) Something has to change.

The first thing I did was consult other bloggers I trust. I felt like I was in blogging kindergarten. You should see some of the emails I sent. “WHAT IS A SIDEBAR?!”

My friend Ashlee was kind enough to explain the word affiliate; a fancy way of saying that if someone clicks on something from your blog and then buys it, you get a cut. Usually it’s a few dollars or a few pennies. She was very nice. She said: I would love to blog without doing any of this crap, but just like you, I get grumpy writing for free and I also have a hard time justifying the amount of time I spend on my blog when there are zero dollars involved.  

Some changes:

You’ll notice some ads on the sidebar. They are called affiliates. You probably know this because you know English.

I will also be linking to products I love in Friday Snacks. This always feels kind of sneaky, which is why I’m bringing it up. I want to make it clear that no one is paying me to recommend a certain kind of humidifier or men’s trousers. Instead, if I buy or am given something I love and use, I will let you know about it. Sometimes I’ll make a small profit (example: if I can find the humidifier we use and love on Amazon, link to it, and then you also buy it) and other times I will not (example: linking to a friend’s etsy shop).

I know it’s confusing. When I’m reading a blog and it promotes a product, I always have the same question: Are you for real? How do I know the pacifier clip you are love drunk about is a great pacifier clip or just one you were paid to promote? (For the record I actually did order this pacifier clip off Etsy the other day and I love it. No one is paying me to say it).

The bottom line is that you’ll have to trust me. 

I will not be doing sponsored posts or giveaways.

A few other blogging changes:

In an effort to continue focus on writing, I am moving personal posts about my kids to their own separate sites. An online scrapbook so no one has to use scissors or enter craft stores. For now they will remain public. You can access them here:

http://waylontiger.wordpress.com/

http://evadecember.wordpress.com/

There will also be some cosmetic changes, most of them will happen slowly and painfully because I’ve only recently graduated to blogging first grade. So you can look forward to that.

Blogging is always changing. Writing evolves, graphics evolve, the way we interact online evolves. Most of all, people evolve.

This I know for sure: I will hold fast to my blogging mantra. This blog has and always will be about writing, honesty, and community.

(Only now there will be an occasional link to incredible leggings).

Thanks for making it this far.

Cheers.

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53 thoughts on “Real Talk: Some Awkward Things About Blogging

    1. Beth

      Oops. I also said that I love reading your writing. :) I don’t know where that part of my comment went. The web is finicky. I hope I used that word right.

      Reply
  1. Jenna

    As a reader, I really appreciate this post. I don’t know much about blogging or how payment works or doesn’t work, but I do know this: everytime I read your blog I feel as though I have a good friend who is telling me everything is okay or going to be okay and that we will all carry on just fine. And I want nothing more than that good friend to be taken care of as well. So you add the link and I will click the clicks and buy the things that suit me best. Because knowing that you endorse a product AND that you can possibly make a few bucks by my purchase, well that just makes it that much more fun to wear leggings as pants knowing that I bought them from the recommendation of a good friend.

    Reply
  2. Katie MacDonald

    I could look at pictures of your beautiful children all day! Love the individual sites and letting your beautiful prose stand alone. And good for you, following your gut and doing what works best for YOU. Only 5 months in and I’m always discovering all these blogging “rules”. Well, rules, smules. Do what you love!

    Reply
  3. Amber

    Agreed. Blogging is tough, and I’ve pretty much given up on trying to figure the whole thing out.

    So glad you’re able to get the compensation you deserve.

    Also, those Christmas photos of Eva are beautiful.

    Reply
  4. Kimberly

    I’ve done like two giveaways on my blog because peer pressure and it feel like sinning. I don’t mind when others do them, but I don’t feel true to myself, so good for you for sticking to it! I also need to find a way to make a few bucks because I do spend too much time for just a hobby.

    Reply
  5. Kimberly

    I rarely comment but am a loyal reader. I never know what to say, but often find myself smiling/nodding/laughing/crying whenever I read your posts. You (and Elizabeth Ivie) are my absolute favorites! I am looking forward to buying your first book, whenever that may be. Best wishes!

    Reply
  6. jolie

    Kate, I love you. DEARLY. I will click all the links, and buy all the humidifiers. I’m still in kindergarten blogging AND I got held back a year. Yeesh.

    Reply
  7. ashleegadd

    Get it girl. I (obviously) support this. Also: I will buy any leggings you recommend. I am trying to break the record for Girl Who Owns The Most Leggings. I think I’m up to 12 at this point. Can’t even remember the last time I wore pants with a button.

    Reply
  8. Hannah

    Sweet Kate, thank you for remaining true to who you are. When you write, I will read! I think maybe I knew that thing about affiliate links but like you said, I forget about it. Does it work for any item or only the item being linked to?
    You are one of a few bloggers that I still click every single blog post and read every word, as opposed to skimming. You are doing so many things right.

    Reply
      1. KC

        From my extremely limited knowledge (mostly based on what bloggers have said), if you click through an Amazon link and then navigate within Amazon from there to what you want to buy, the affiliate part “sticks” while you’re within the Amazon page and the blogger gets a small percentage of your purchase (but does not get to know what your purchase is). So, esp. if someone’s buying a camera or something nice and spendy on Amazon, find an affiliate link and use it and benefit your favorite blogger! (but each little purchase also gives back, just… more on the pennies than the dollars, but enough pennies from enough people also add up, so click through for those, too, if you can remember. :-) )

        Reply
  9. Jess

    I will click all your links, in hopes that you keep writing for a long time! I doubt I would have survived my son’s first few months of life without your blog to read (over and over). So, really, you should probably be charging for therapy services.

    Reply
  10. Tiffany

    Amen sister! Very well written post that rings true for so many bloggers/writers. To keep doing what I love I have accepted that I need some form of income, so I try to compromise: About 95% of the good stuff and 5% of the crap.

    Reply
  11. Anonymous

    Recent reader here :) I would MUCH rather purchase something endorsed/recommended by a blogger than an advertisement! So, for what it’s worth, I’m in ;)
    And I’m in blogging pre-k so, to me, you look like one of the big kids.

    Reply
  12. A

    This all must be very hard and stressful.

    You will be paid for your writing. You are Very Good and smart and have made good choices. When the book(s) come out you have already established every future writer’s dream which is a loyal following who will follow you to the cash register at the book store.

    You’ll sit down for your meeting with the publicist and they’ll be like, you need to get a really strong internet following, and you’ll be like, O honey, I’m already all over that.

    In the meantime, when points for groundwork ring kind of hollow, even though you’d feel really awkward doing it, there just might be those of us who would use a “donate’ link. I’m sure there’s a more interesting way to phrase it, but perhaps with PayPal or whatever a way to pay you $5/$25/whatever dollars for the privilege of enjoying your blog. Seriously. I thought of this because I thought “Oh I’d buy leggings to support Kate.” and then I thought “But then $2 would go to her and I’d rather the full $20 did…”

    Reply
    1. Kate {motleymama} Post author

      First. Thank you for this.

      Second. I thought about that, but it made me nervous. Like I was asking for a handout for something a lot of people do for free.

      But again. Thank you. I really needed to hear that.

      Reply
      1. A

        The reluctance is certainly understandable. If you’d at some point reconsider, I’d consider this:

        It would not be required (like not a subscription). It’d be something tastefully sequestered in the ‘SideBar.’ People wouldn’t be asked for $35 (though they could choose that) but it would be pointed out that volume is what makes the difference so each person who’d be happy to give $5 would add up when there’s lots of persons.

        You’d be able to come up with some fun way to describe it, like “$5 gets me to put a smiley face on this day on the calendar” “$50 shows Austin who’s boss” etc.

        Then you could off-handedly mention it in one of your posts, like this last one and then leave it be for a while—that makes it simply awareness of an opportunity and not-at-all pestery.

        Cause here’s the thing: We like reading you. It’s exhausting to be you. $ help revive. Revive-ness keeps you going so we can keep reading you. We understand. Those who are spending all their money on Formula won’t be offended. Those who have a little to spare would be happy to contribute.

        Reply
  13. Hannah H

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. Blogging is hard. And it does cost money if you want your site to look like anything more than a basic wordpress template with stuff slapped in. I’m also really web un-savvy, and so this whole thing has been a mega learning journey for me. Keep on keeping on, and thanks for sharing these truths!

    Reply
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